The hurricane season of 2005 was the busiest on record and Hurricane Katrina (2005) is believed to be the costliest hurricane in U. S. history. There are growing concerns regarding whether this increased tropical cyclone activity is a result of global warming, as suggested by Emanuel(2005) and Webster et al. (2005), or just a natural oscillation (Goldenberg et al. 2001). This study examines the changes in tropical cyclone intensity to see what were really responsible for the changes in tropical cyclone activity over the past 30 years. Since the tropical sea surface temperature (SST) warming also leads to the response of atmospheric circulation, which is not solely determined by the local SST warming, this study suggests that it is better to take the tropical cyclone activities in the North Atlantic (NA), western North Pacific (WNP) and eastern North Pacific (ENP) basins as a whole when searching for the influence of the global-scale SST warming on tropical cyclone intensity. Over the past 30 years, as the tropical SST increased by about 0.5 C, the linear trends indicate 6%, 16% and 15% increases in the overall average intensity and lifetime and the annual frequency. Our analysis shows that the increased annual destructiveness of tropical cyclones reported by Emanuel(2005) resulted mainly from the increases in the average lifetime and annual frequency in the NA basin and from the increases in the average intensity and lifetime in the WNP basin, while the annual destructiveness in the ENP basin generally decreased over the past 30 years. The changes in the proportion of intense tropical cyclones reported by Webster et a1 (2005) were due mainly to the fact that increasing tropical cyclones took the tracks that favor for the development of intense tropical cyclones in the NA and WNP basins over the past 30 years. The dynamic influence associated with the tropical SST warming can lead to the impact of global warming on tropical cyclone intensity that may be very different from our current assessments, which were mainly based on the thermodynamic theory of tropical cyclone intensity.